If I had to make a list of the top 3 players most likely to insist they were hit by a pitch that didn’t touch their person or clothing, White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski might occupy all 3 spots. Fangraphs’ Alex Remington calls A.J.’s ploy “effectively the baseball equivalent of flopping in soccer and basketball.”
But how do you punish him? The commissioner™s office can™t very well levy a fine for doing something that isn™t prohibited in the rulebook, and public ostracism won™t make much of a difference either: A.J. Pierzynski has made a career of ticking off fanbases and clubhouses alike. As satisfying as it would be to punish a player for lying, it isn™t very practical ” after all, it™s impossible to know exactly whether a player is genuinely mistaken or intentionally dissembling.
The best part of this is imagining Pierzynski’s reaction (head butt? knee to the groin?) were Remington or anyone else to accuse him of “intentionally dissembling” to his face. I am willing to bet real money that despite the catcher’s past, this would be the very first time he heard such an accusation (in those words, anyway).